The Kenya National Drama and Film Festival opens today in Mombasa.
The festival runs until April 28, with a state concert scheduled for April 29.
Since its inception in 1959, the fete has continued to play a central role in the Education ministry’s calendar of activities.
It has provided learners with a unique platform to perform and exhibit their talent on the national and global scene.
Schools and colleges from Coast, Nairobi, Central and North Eastern regions started travelling to Mombasa yesterday, while those from Eastern and Rift Valley regions are expected to travel today.
Participants from Nyanza and Western schools are expected to travel to the coastal town tomorrow.
Mombasa and the neighbouring counties will be hosting more than 3,000 participants, trainers, adjudicators, as well as regional and national organisers.
Event Executive Secretary James Indimuli lauded the executive committee under the leadership of Prof C.J Odhiambo of Moi University for steering the annual event through the turbulent Covid-19 crisis period.
The festival portends a boost for the tourism and hospitality industry in the Coast region.
For security reasons, teachers have been advised to spend the nights in the villages hosting the students and to ensure that mixed schools carry along teachers of both genders.
Additionally, the institutions’ buses are to carry teachers and students only.
Another guideline for the event is that no school buses should be on the roads between 6 am and 6 pm, according to Mr Indimuli.
The teachers have further been tasked to ensure the safety of the learners as they travel and for the entire period of the festival.
In a dramatic departure from the past, drama trainers will be clad in the uniforms of their former schools at the gala ceremony.
Mr Wycliffe Buhere will be coordinating the dress code for the two-day gala.
Among the plays expected to compete in Mombasa is Karima Girls’ entry, scripted by veteran thespian Joseph Murungu.
Karima Girls’ entry topped the play category during the Central region’s edition of the drama festival at Tumutumu Girls.
Kianyaga Boys High School came second. Their play was also scripted by Mr Murungu.
St Ann's Mang’u Girls were third and Alliance Girls came fourth.
The four plays will feature on the national stage.
In the Creative Cultural Dance category, Kiine Girls were tops, followed by Kangubiri Girls High School. Gataragea were third and Gathirimu Girls fourth.
In Choral Verse, Kabare Girls won, followed by St Mary's Mwea, while Ruchu were third and Njega fourth.
Central region event chairman John Nyingi said this year’s event has drawn a lot of interest.
“True to our expectations, the standard of the presentations was very high and we will be taking highly competitive items to the nationals in April,” said Mr Nyingi.
The highlights from the Central Kenya edition of the festival included Kagumo High School’s play, directed by Winnie Ndundu and produced by Dr Silas Mwirugi.
Kaheti High School presented a choral verse depicting the plight of families when principals and teachers are posted to far-off workstations. The play links the delocalisation of teachers to family break-ups, among other ills.
The choral verse was written by Wachira Gichari and directed by Mr Moses Muriuki and Mwangi Peter Wanjohi.
The producer is Mr Moses Muiruri, the chief Principal of Kaheti Boys High School in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County.